Bring Me Backby Published 19 Jun 2018
|Bring Me Back.pdf|
A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again.
Ten years later he's engaged to be married; he's happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She's turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.
As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?
Bring Me Back Reviews
What is it you want Layla?
1 1/2 stars. I swear I gave it my best shot. I really wanted to love this book. Paris' Behind Closed Doors kept me on the edge of my seat, but her sophomore novel The Breakdown bored me, so I figured two out of three ain't bad, right? Sorry, it's a Meat Loaf kinda morning.
But this book is so CHEESY.
I'll give it an extra half star for keeping me reading despite rolling my eyes every few pages, but that's the most enthusiasm I can muster for it. The twist/reveal of the book may be shocking to new mystery readers, but it's actually been used by too many authors for me not to see it coming at this point. And many of those authors have made it more convincing than Paris managed here.
Bring Me Back alternates between the past, in which Finn (the narrator) and his girlfriend Layla take a holiday in France and she disappears; the present, in which we find ourselves ten years later with Finn about to marry Layla's sister Ellen; and first person accounts from Layla, where she mostly talks like a comic book villain, figuratively twirling her mustache. Muahaha.
Most of the book takes place in the present. Despite believing Layla is gone for good, signs start popping up that she may be alive. Her beloved Russian dolls start appearing everywhere, and when Finn receives emails from a mysterious source who seems to know too much, it becomes obvious something nefarious is going on.
Problem is, it's all a bit like a slightly comical (though unintentionally so) B-movie. Every chapter ends with some really cheesy line that is supposed to be ominous. Like:
"I don't ever want you to be scared of me," I say.
Not like Layla was, that night, I silently add.
So I log on to my emails and find one from Layla.
YOU HAVE TEN DAYS
It was just so ridiculous I wanted to laugh. The narrative reminds me of the criminologist from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, raising his eyebrow at the camera and saying "Or had they?"
And it was difficult to become invested in any of the characters' stories. Finn seems like a dick from the get-go (and a dumbass - why would he go meet someone he suspects is a kidnapper?), Ellen and the secondary characters are bland and one-dimensional, and don't even get me started on Layla. There was no hook; no exciting questions. The middle dragged as I was forced to ponder what exactly I was supposed to be caring about - are we supposed to be afraid of Layla? Are we supposed to care about the romantic relationships and who Finn will choose?
In general, I prefer more carefully-crafted plots with more complex characters than Paris offers up here, but I can definitely enjoy pulpy, nasty thrillers like her Behind Closed Doors. Unfortunately, though, I don't think this book was particularly clever OR fast-paced and enjoyable. I guess her first book might have been a one-off for me.
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Holy Moly! The 'Do Not Disturb’ sign was definitely displayed (mentally if not physically) while I read Bring Me Back! Seriously, if this book had been edible, I would have made myself ill devouring it!
British couple Finn and his girlfriend Layla, are on their way home from a skiing trip in France when he pulls into a secluded, dimly lit area late at night to use the restroom. When he returns to the car Layla is nowhere to be found!
Fast forward 12 years and Finn has moved on with his life, in fact he’s now in a relationship with Layla’s sister Ellen, and they’re living happily together in a picturesque Cotswold village. However, knowing how B A Paris's previous books played out, I knew that this idyllic situation wasn't going to last! Someone claiming to be Layla contacts Finn by email, and also begins leaving Russian dolls outside his house and sending them in the mail. These dolls have huge significance for Layla and Ellen, but is it really Layla, who’s behind it?
My oh my, who’d have thought that Russian dolls could have such frightening significance! This was a fantastic storyline, and for me it was the plot rather than the characters that was the star of the show, and literally had me holding my breath at times. The tension began on page one and really never let up, with the author using misdirection - smoke and mirrors to maximum effect, and though I kind of guessed where it was heading, it didn't pan out exactly as I thought it would, which meant I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Utterly gripping!
*Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for my ARC. I have given an honest review in exchange *
Sometimes you read an author’s work and realize that you and the author just don’t “click”, that is the case with me and B.A. Paris. I had read “Behind Closed Doors” and did not really enjoy it but I was willing to give this new book a read. This is what I discovered.
The author has a writing style that “tells” rather than “shows” the reader what is going on. It also includes lots and lots of questions for the reader to ruminate on, example “I had put it down to a sensitivity for my feelings--but could her reserve have been for a darker, secret reason? Had Layla somehow made her way back to Lewis after she disappeared from the picnic area? Is that why Ellen has brought me here, why she left the link to CalMac ferries on her computer, because Layla is there?” This is just one example, there are many, many questions addressed to the reader and for me this just doesn’t work in fact the repetitive use of this format is somewhat irritating.
I like strong characters in my books, no matter what genre, and Layla, Ellen and Finn are not well described or developed. We know very little of their lives except what is happening in the present, and even that is questionable since they are unreliable narrators. Harry, Finn’s previous partner and now still a friend and Ruby, Finn’s ex-girlfriend, are very minimally described.
The premise was interesting, “A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again. “
“As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?”
I could go on but I will just annoy the fans of this book and this author so I will just chalk it up to not enjoying the writing style. The ending was interesting but I was left thinking “really, this is the answer we get”, it just was not plausible. I’m willing to suspend belief for a while, particularly with thrillers, but this was just not worth the effort in the end.
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.
4.5 stars for this ridiculously fun, brilliant & entertaining book!
BRING ME BACK by B. A. PARIS had me racing through the pages and finishing this in just two sittings which I haven’t done in quite some time. I really upped my Kindle “time left in book” reading average with this book.
So here’s the thing about this book. It was an extremely enjoyable, entertaining, fun, and ridiculous psychological thriller novel that had me totally engrossed and interested right from the very first page. The psychological aspect to this novel I thought was extremely clever and well executed. I know that doesn’t sound right but that is the way I felt while reading this one. I wouldn’t say that this storyline was all that suspenseful or thrilling but I absolutely love the way that B. A. Paris tells a story though. There were definitely some questionable storytelling and one liners here that had me rolling my eyes a little bit but all in all nothing really irked me and I absolutely loved the Epilogue. Let’s just say the last line of this book I gave a little whoop and thought it was a good one and thank you B. A. Paris for that!!
B. A. PARIS delivers a very readable, unique and fun story here with unreliable characters that weaves back and forth in a then and now perspective with short chapters to make this an extremely quick and easy read.
So if you are looking for a compulsive read with the help of some Russian Stacking Dolls to solve this mystery then this book is for you! Would recommend!
Publishing Date: June 19, 2018
Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and B. A. Paris for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
There is something about this author’s writing prowess that is incredibly addictive!
“Sometimes we lie for the greater good, don’t we? I wish that’s what you had done.”
This was yet another page-turner by the talented B.A. Paris. After enjoying both of her books ‘Behind Closed Doors’ and ‘The Breakdown’, I knew I had to get my hands on “Bring me Back” and I was in for a treat.
As I started reading this book, I felt like I stepped into a treacherous territory, bordered by shades of mystery and deception. I did see the twist coming but its execution was utterly brilliant that I had to slow down just so I could savour every bit of it. Towards the end, it felt like a train wreck. Everything and everyone involved, were all going to hell in a handbasket, and there was no stopping it.
Last but not least, this is a plot-driven story so if you go into it, looking for a great character-development, I’m afraid you’d be a tad disappointed.
Cleverly-written, fast-paced, and extremely-engaging. “Bring Me Back” is one of my favourite reads of 2018.
Get it, you won’t regret it! (it rhymes, alright I’m out)
I would like to thank the Publishers, NetGalley, and the Author for sending me an arc of this book.
This review can also be found on my blog .